It is becoming increasingly apparent that we have entered a networked world where we are surrounded by devices that are connected to the local network via Wi-Fi. Whether it’s a smart door lock, thermostat, lighting controls or a mobile device that can control them all, almost every system has the need for access to a network via Wi-Fi. While our entire industry is deeply entrenched in this fact, Home Control has come to a point where it thrives on the need for reliable wireless connectivity. The prevailing demand for networked systems and mobile enabled devices has made a reliable wireless network a necessity to keep customers happy and systems working properly.
The increasing bandwidth requirements can be taxing on older existing Wi-Fi Access Points (WAPs). The typical combination Wi-Fi access point & router simply cannot keep up with the “big pipe” connectivity that is required.
Low voltage salespeople and technicians should always investigate a client’s current Wi-Fi setup when visiting a customer’s home or facility. If the client still has older 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, they are in need of new wireless access points. Larger homes or facilities may require several new access points. By using one of many available Wi-Fi testing apps on your smartphone, you can quickly identify and test your client’s Wi-Fi coverage and signal strength.
If the client has a single WAP/router that is using the older technology Wi-Fi standards, it is a simple matter to change that device out with a higher bandwidth WAP/router such as the one pictured below.
This particular device provides four 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet ports for local wired devices and has the latest Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard access point that can deliver a theoretical 1300 Mbps of throughput. Using multiple channels simultaneously, this device is a drop-in replacement for older Wi-Fi routers that will most likely double or triple the client’s Wi-Fi performance. It is important to note this device is backward compatible with the older 802.11 b/g/n standards, so older client devices will still function the same, providing that the previous installer programmed the same SSID and security code into the new WAP/router. This device also provides the ability to set up a separate “guest” Wi-Fi connection so that visitors to a home or office can quickly access the Wi-Fi but they can only go to the Internet and cannot connect with any of the other devices wired or wireless on that LAN.
To effectively manage multiple WAPs manufacturers such are producing WAP controllers that make the programming of the Wi-Fi access points very simple and very secure.
WAP controllers connect to the client’s LAN with a standard Cat5e/6 cable. Once the device on the LAN and the WAPs are wired onto the network, you only need to turn the controller box on, and it will immediately identify and connect to all of the WAPs. The programming is centralized; any settings such as guest network, MAC address lockout, and WPA security codes are input to the controller which then programs and handles the individual WAPs.
An important feature to look for in a WAP controller is the ability to manage the handoffs between WAPs when a client is moving from one WAP towards another. As the first WAP’s signal weakens and the second WAP gets a stronger signal, the controller will pass the client’s device Wi-Fi connectivity to the appropriate WAP.
Your customers will love the “supercharged” Wi-Fi you have installed, and you open the gateway for the addition of new Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices such as smart doorbells, shade controls, door locks, etc.
If you need assistance with networking or Wi-Fi requirements for your next Home Control installation, ADI’s Systems, Sales and Support Team is here to help. You can contact the ADI System, Sales and Support Team at 1.800.ADI.SYS1.